Scientific communication skills are essential for collaborating with other scientists, conducting research, and disseminating findings to a wide range of audiences.
In addition to written communication, scientists must also be well-versed in designing effective oral presentations and multimodal compositions that incorporate written text, images, audio, and video. Understanding the conventions of scientific genres and style as well as being able to make rhetorically effective decisions about the organization and presentation of content is imperative to being a successful scientific communicator.
In spite of the importance of scientific communication, many scientists and health professionals lack explicit instruction in scientific writing. The Center for Writing Excellence provides several resources for you to improve and refine your scientific communication skills.
Scientific communication is a form of technical communication composed by scientists for other scientists. This style of communication emphasizes objectivity, precision, and concision in order to enhance readability and clarity.
You may see the terms “scientific writing” and “science writing.” Sometimes, these terms are used interchangeably, but they actually have distinct definitions. “Scientific writing” refers to writing by scientists for scientists, whereas “science writing” refers to writing by scientists for the public/popular audiences. The key distinction lies in the intended audience. Scientists are familiar with many of the technical terms and jargon of their discipline; thus, scientific writing can use this kind of language freely, as long as it enhances clarity. Public and lay audiences, however, will be less familiar with technical language and jargon. Scientists writing for the public through science writing will need to use more accessible language and may also employ more journalistic or narrative-driven techniques to convey important scientific information.
The CWE offers one-on-one and small group consultations for all AU-affiliated undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, faculty, and staff. Undergraduates can benefit from working with one of our undergraduate peer consultants, while graduate students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to meet with our professional staff. We offer in-person and online consultations. The CWE assists at any stage in your composing project. Here’s just a few things we can assist you with:
The CWE offers freestanding workshops, writing groups, and boot camps focused on scientific communication regularly. See our home page for updates on upcoming events. Faculty can also request workshops on scientific communication to be offered in their courses. The CWE can present pre-existing workshops or design custom workshops based on your course learning outcomes, needs, and goals.
In addition to these resources, you can schedule one-on-one consultations to review your projects with our trained staff. Appointments can take place in person, live online, or through written feedback. We offer availability on both the Summerville and Health Sciences campuses.